World of Warcraft: Classic demo will limit players to one-hour sessions at launch

The World of Warcraft: Classic demo will officially open its doors to the world on November 2, which is tomorrow. And with tomorrow just a day away, Blizzard has announced that it's going to implement a cooldown timer to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to play. 

"When the demo goes live, we’ll use a playtime time limit and a cooldown (that starts when you first log in) to help as many people as possible play the Classic demo as much as possible," community manager Ythisens wrote. "We’ll start with a playtime limit of a cumulative 60 minutes and a cooldown of 90 minutes." 

He cited three examples of how the system will work: If you play for 30 minutes and then log off for 60 minutes, you'll start over with a fresh 60 when you return; if you play for 60 minutes, you'll get the boot and won't be allowed back in for 30 minutes; and (this is where it gets complicated) if you play for 20 minutes, leave for 20 minutes, come back and play for 40 more minutes, you'll get kicked out but will be able to reconnect in just ten minutes.   

A playtime cap obviously isn't going to make everyone happy, but given what generally happens when hordes of eager gamers stampede through a newly-opened door, it's probably a good idea. And it will only be in place until Blizzard is sure it can handle the demand: Ythisens said the goal is to lift the limits "as quickly as we feasibly can," and only reinstate them if it encounters unexpectedly high demand afterward. 

Demo content will be limited as well: Blizzard said in an announcement last week that Horde players will have access to the Barrens while Alliance players will be able to roam Westfall, but the Deadmines and Wailing Caverns dungeons won't be available, and PvP will be restricted to duels. On the upside, demo players will begin at level 15, so they'll at least have some abilities and quests to tackle straight away. 

The World of Warcraft: Classic demo will be available to BlizzCon Virtual Ticket holders beginning on November 2, when the big show starts. A launch date for the full World of Warcraft: Classic hasn't been announced. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.